Just a side point. Coincidentally 6 years after I left the JW religion, I converted to the catholic faith, and got baptised in it this last Easter. I will also be giving my first Bible reading at mass this next coming Sunday. While I realise the Catholic Church isn’t perfect and I don’t accept all the offical teachings of the church. I do feel they are trying to openly right the wrongs of the past. Weather this be by choice or outside pressure is another topic. I think the thing that keeps me going back every Sunday, is communion, and how the idea of partaking of the bread and wine drives home the point of Christ selflessly dying for humanity. Something that I never felt as a JW. I can now understand (to a point) when people would mistakenly say to me in FS that JWs don’t believe in Jesus.
The point you raise about the rise of the American religions been a result of protest of the more conventional church ideas. I could agree with this to a point. What we must remember around this time is people were very superstitious e.g buried treasure been located by looking at a stone inside a hat. Real crazy quackery. Something that allowed the likes the Bible students ideas of the pyramids been Gods stone witness to flourish. I think may of the issues that have come back to bite these American religions has been the result of the craziness of the ideas of their founders. Why??? Because they were a result of the thinking of the time in which they developed e.g people who lived on the moon who looked like quakers. We can now say with the advancement of science that anyone living on the moon is nonsense, but back in the 1800s this was fully accepted as been revelation from God.
Along with people wondering the origins of the American Indians (of which Mr Smith had the answer to) people were also speculating about Christ’s return ( Mr Miller). Like I said these religions have been built on the thinking’s of 19 century ideology that has now come back to bite them. I would invite anybody here who thinks the JW religion is just a total load of nonsense to go and start looking into the Mormon religion. The foundations and doctrine of the Mormon church would leave the JWs in the dust.
I agree that when times are better people become less God fearing. Many JWs would probably agree to. I’m guessing that would be the reason why when asking a JW if the would choose to live in 2019 or 1719 many would choose to live in the present. Why? Because we lead better, longer and more fulfilled lives. Something that goes totally against Jw ideology, because as we get closer to end of the world and Satan is on the rampage from the time of 1914. Surly any God fearing jw would choose to live in the 1700s when there would of been less critical times hard to deal with, and pangs of distress. Yes you will never find an atheist in the trenches. This is something I have to remind myself constantly, that it is in times when things are going well and prosperity that I really need to give thanks and praise to my Heavenly Father. Amen